Experiencing new adventures

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Whether you’re a native or a visitor, there are exciting things to see and do in the Sunshine State.

Ponder this question: When did you last do something for the first time? 

Thanks to my grown stepson Kyle visiting from Indiana recently, he had a list of first-time adventures he wanted to explore—and some were new for me, too. 

High on his list was visiting NASA Kennedy Space Center, which we did immediately after he landed in Florida. We were mesmerized by the huge orbiter of the space shuttle Atlantis on display, with its payload bay doors open. We also felt like we were in space watching the five-story-tall movie screen bring to life riveting 360-degree visuals shot by astronauts from the International Space Station, and we marveled at seeing images of Earth in a new light. 

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Airboat ride on the waters of Lake Panasoffkee.

July marks the 50th anniversary of astronaut Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon, and the Saturn V rocket that launched Apollo 11 took off from the space center. After seeing projections of the historic moon-landing footage, it was thrilling to walk below the 363-foot-long Saturn V, the largest rocket ever flown in space.

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Airboat ride on the waters of Lake Panasoffkee.

Another new experience for Kyle and me was zooming across the waters of Lake Panasoffkee in an airboat from Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures. The speed and swift turns were more thrilling than an amusement ride, and our captain also steered us into three miles of gentle calmness in secluded Sumter County swamp filled with serene scenery and beautiful wildlife. We gushed over seeing baby gators and even a momma alligator sunning on a log with one of her babies on her back. 

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Kyle Campbell and Theresa Campbell with alligator Ali.

One of the surprising thrills after the ride was the chance to hold Ali, a female alligator. “That was awesome!” Kyle said, while quickly posting a photo of him and the gator for his Facebook friends to see. 

About the Author

Originally from Anderson, Ind., Theresa worked for The Herald-Bulletin for many years. After experiencing a winter with 53 inches of snow, her late husband asked her to get a job in Florida, and they headed south. Well known in the area, Theresa worked with The Daily Sun and The Daily Commercial prior to joining Akers. “I finally have my dream job. I’ve wanted to work for a magazine since I was a teenager, and I’m very excited to be here,” Theresa says. “There is such positive energy at Akers that it’s infectious.” Theresa has three grown daughters—Julia lives in San Francisco, Emily is in Austin, Tex., and Maria is at the University of Central Florida.
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